When I trained as a nurse back in 1754, nurse education was a relatively simple beast. That is not to say it was not underpinned by certain principles but at root it was less an educational voyage and more a process of cultural induction.
Sometimes I go for a walk in the local cemetery. I like to wander round looking at old headstones and wondering about the lives of the dead. I’m often drawn to a small one in the middle of a patch of grass that simply has a name, an age, 8, and a date, 1934. Immediately sad isn’t it? Compounded by the fact that the grave was all on its own.
So I’m being tortured by a sports physiotherapist and trying not to scream.
I have just got back from Iceland. Yes the country. I know, get me. If you haven’t been then I do suggest you put it on the list. It’s lovely. We saw frozen waterfalls, glaciers, geysers, hot lagoons and loads of beards
I was 27 when I began nursing. I had a degree in philosophy, and lived in a low-rent social housing flat. I actually applied for mental health nursing, speech therapy and social work all at the same time. I felt it was time to do something ‘useful’ and get out of my head, which was full of nonsense and easily distracted by stories and songs
I’m going to write about student nurse drop out rates and I will almost definitely get to that in a moment. First, I need to say something about the word ‘passion’ or more importantly, the fact that so many people use it when they are not referring to the fruit, ‘the suffering or death of Jesus’ or the ‘strong and barely controllable emotion’
I rarely write about the Royal College of Nursing.
I’ll do the maths. By 5 January 2018, the closing date for UCAS, there had been 32,520 applications to study nursing. A year before there had been 48,230; that means 15,710 fewer people applied to do nursing in 2018. If that trend continues there will be around 16,810 people applying to study nursing in 2019. In 2020 there will be 12. Twelve people will apply to study nursing
Rightly or wrongly sometimes first impressions linger – or at least their shadows do. When I first came into nursing over 30 years ago I didn’t really notice the Royal College of Nursing. I was a mental health nurse and didn’t feel we were their type back then. They liked people who ironed vigorously and listened to Phil Collins; when they looked at us they saw people who played pool with their patients and called it work.
I realise that as a columnist I shouldn’t say this but I try to avoid the news as much as I can. I have for a couple of years now. I don’t really like it and I find it doesn’t help me to live my life.
I ’m not sure it has ever been harder to be a nurse. I may get a letter from someone reminding me how difficult those first few weeks of the Crimean War were, and there may even be a few romantics from the 1950s anxious to remind us that in the old days student nurses had to hand wash and iron the whole of Wolverhampton before they were allowed to speak. But let’s face it – it is harder today than ever and it’s probably worth wondering why we are letting that be the case.
Call me unpatriotic but I have always been confused by the word “Great” in Great Britain. Ironically it may be that I am just very British in my coyness when it comes to self-praise? Or it may be that it never really felt earned? I don’t think all the other countries got together and said, “you know who’s Great? Britain, that’s who. With it’s quaint red pillar-boxes and its willingness to tolerate Richard Branson. Let’s call her Great Britain from now on”. And even though Australia, ...
I’m having coffee with a nurse friend. She has been doing what she does for 15 years and can’t remember the last time her feet didn’t hurt. She is on her fourth espresso and has the wide-eyed stare of a kitten that has just seen wool for the first time. She leans across the table and says; “I’m thinking of making a break for it.”
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If I have a responsibility to this page, it involves some sensitivity to the experiences of the people who may read it.
Call me crass and irresponsible but I hope you find a way to treat yourself at Christmas
Some of you will be familiar with the slightly scary social psychology research known as the ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’. It investigated the psychological effects of perceived power and took place in 1971.
I spent today with a clutch of matrons, is “clutch” right? Better than “gaggle”? I don’t think “herd” works.
I am sitting outside a cafe in Brighton with a friend talking about life and watching the clouds.
I ’m chatting with a friend I haven’t seen for a while. Lovely man, works far too hard, last did exercise in 1989, likes Chardonnay and won’t leave it alone until it likes him back.
A recent report from the Academy of Medical Sciences suggested that the public were confused by information about medicines and that the leaflets should be less scary.
Back in the mid-1980s a third-year student nurse was charged with showing me, a first-year student nurse, how to give a depot injection.
So we have these new cats. We got them through the RSPCA. One of them is a proper cat: skilled in the ways of cat, bounds around the garden like Zorro, walking tightropes, chasing birds, teasing next door’s dog.
A drug that can reverse aspects of ageing has been successfully trialled in animals by scientists at Erasmus University Medical Center in The Netherlands.
I haven’t watched a horror film since seeing The Exorcist in 1974. I snuck into it while still underage, imagining I was thumbing my nose at the man. It absolutely terrified me. All spinning heads, satanic taunting and Mike Oldfield. I have avoided scary films ever since.
There is something quite British in being too embarrassed to acknowledge a crisis. I remember doing a home visit years ago – a gentleman let me in and took me through the house where an older, fairly large woman, was sitting on her kitchen floor leaning against the fridge.
Well 2016 was annoying wasn’t it? It started badly with the death of David Bowie, got ridiculous with Brexit and then went full ‘let’s eat our own feet, then go down the disco’ with the US electing as its president a man who has both the hair and the intellect of a coconut.
According to the Cavell Trust, for example, 61% of nurses consider themselves to be in good health compared to 74% of the general public
Earlier this year international physicists and philosophers gathered at the American Museum of Natural History in New York to debate the theory that life is in fact a computer simulation.
A report from The Cavell Nurses Trust earlier this month offered up some pretty astonishing insights into modern nursing life
When I was six years old I was one of a number of children in my class who contributed to an assembly about the ancient Greek literature Aesop’s Fables
Do you remember when you were a kid and your mum ordered you to eat your dinner, and your default response was, “I don’t want my dinner, because it’s a potato with mince near it, and looks like an iceberg surrounded by a sewage leak.” And your mum would shout, “Eat your dinner!” Then you’d say, “I’m not eating it! Give it to the cat!” Then she’d point out you didn’t have a cat and you’d say, “I’m not surprised if you want to feed it this.”
To recap, we will no longer be in the EU and although we don’t really know what that means, we can’t stop talking about it.
A long time ago I wrote about our need for a giant annual nursing party.
So, nursing associates (NAs) – an inevitable response to evergrowing staffi ng crisis?
In recent months I have started commuting again. I may have done it for a bet.
These are difficult times for the NHS.
You turn your back for a few weeks and someone steals your health service and replaces it with an unwieldly street market full of rejects from The Apprentice, bartering with each other to see who can win a contract to run cancer care services for £149.99 plus expenses.
OK, so this one’s personal. I lost my mum earlier this year.
As a child I was far too trusting. My father, who didn’t live with me, took me on a day trip to Ramsgate once.
I like open water swimming. If you are wandering along the Brighton coast in the winter and come across a small group of semi-naked people picking their way barefoot across the pebbles to get into the sea, there is a fair chance I will be one of them.
There are certain things that, on the face of it, are perfectly inoffensive expressions of taste or belief, but cannot be comfortably said in our country.
First, I have to get this off my chest. It isn’t a heat wave when it only lasts a day and a half and then gets cloudy. It’s a British summer. We’ve had them before, not every year, obviously, but we have definitely had them.
As you get older it feels as though things come around increasingly quickly.
As the post-election dust settles and the nation divides itself between people getting excited about abolishing the Human Rights Act (what have human rights ever done for us anyway?) and wasting time on the internet playing with the Slap Michael Gove app, it is time to reflect on some of the advantages a Conservative government will bring the NHS and dump some of the scaremongering myths that might begin to spread now people find themselves in a world where we are expected to take Boris ...
Have you seen or heard of a TV programme called The Walking Dead? Premised on the idea that you could fall asleep and wake up to find that most of humanity had turned into slow-moving and wholly uncommunicative flesh-eating zombies, it is very popular among young people and to my old eyes quite hard to watch.
Ahh the change in seasons; getting out last year’s cardigans and wondering if you can get away with “retro” for one more year.
If Scotland votes for independence, who gets Lulu? I know she is very small and hardly any trouble but we should be told.
Apparently I have to have a wisdom tooth removed. “It’s facing completely the wrong way,” the dentist said, as if I had somehow arranged for it to grow in the direction of Belgium on purpose. “I’ll refer you to the dental hospital - don’t hold your breath.”
I have been writing this column for some time and there has been only one subject that I have completely and consciously avoided: assisted dying.
OK, mini quiz.